I was born, raised and have lived most of my life next door to New Jersey. And when I say “next door” I mean two miles from the border. I worked in New Jersey for many, many years. When I tell you that Jersey is “different,” you can trust me. And it was “different” for decades before The Sopranos created an indelible and enduring image for a state that most Americans couldn’t find on the map without help.
When I was growing up, on the edges of Philadelphia, people talked about so-and-so being “connected.” That one word, applied to an acquaintance, a relative, a co-worker—whoever—produced instant shock and awe. It meant that the person referred to had serious juice and was completely hands-off. A connected guy could snatch your grannie’s purse or set the neighbor’s cat on fire, for an audience in broad daylight, but nobody, including the cop on the beat, would ever see a thing.
Being “connected” didn’t necessarily mean that you were a mob princeling or even a “wise guy” but it meant you did business with such people on a regular basis and that smart people would stay out of your way.
And it wasn’t all fear and loathing, either. Connected guys were often heroes in their neighborhoods because they could make the seemingly impossible happen. Troubles with the zoning board? need a traffic light on your street? need a loan that no bank will give you? connected guys help out the little people and the little people don’t forget. And the world goes round . . .
It’s been mighty exciting these past two weeks here at the Polly digs in lower Manhattan, but being able to witness the expression of free speech being quashed from our very own balcony is the sort of fantasy a girl can hardly believe could ever be fulfilled, and yet it happened!
That’s the “view” from our front window due to the insane blizzard that whipped through Brooklyn last night. Biscuit probably thinks we still haven’t opened the shade for her. Because her brain is the size of an almond.
I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun voting against someone as I did this morning not voting for Carl “Horrible Fucking Person” Paladino. Yay! Please post your election reports in the comments. I was surprised how many people were voting in Brooklyn at 6:15 am (especially considering there are no nail-biters here), but I’ve never voted that early so maybe it’s normal.
We will never forget—what sells!
At the end of Part One, we were trembling at the brink of a discovery: down a side street, but a mere two shabbily picturesque city blocks away from the northern perimeter of the future 16 acre complex of memorials, waterfalls, museums, office buildings, retail shops, and restaurants currently still known as “Ground Zero.”
Look! There in the crepuscularity of this avenue of sorrow, the perfidious zealots have already declared their devotion to the One True Way by putting up a sign!!
The snow’s been coming down at a steady clip for a couple of hours here in NYC, the wind’s really starting to kick in, and Biscuit, once again, just brought her special version of hell down upon us, so we’re going to run outside and play in the beautiful, beautiful snow. I know a lot of our staff and readers are in the line of today’s blizzard, so here’s an open thread to discuss what’s going on in your neck of the woods.
Listen, I love pizza. If I had to pick a last meal, chances are pretty good it would solely consist of or at least include pizza. I would have sex with a well-made pie if it had a hole in it. I LOVE PIZZA THAT FUCKING MUCH. But I’d never ever pay $5 for a plain slice regardless of where it was made.
And let me tell ya something very few people are willing to admit (because they’re assholes), Di Fara’s pizzeria is probably the most overrated eating establishment in all of the five boroughs. Don’t believe the Chowhound message boards, home to some of the most loathsome, crumb-covered, head-butt-deserving douchebags in the world, where Di Fara’s is adored and fawned over like a cheesy Holy Grail. DI FARA’S IS NOT WORTH IT. Getting there is a pain in the ass (even if you live in Brooklyn), the whole ordering process is about as pleasant as getting a colonoscopy, and the resulting pie, which you NEARLY HAVE TO DIE FOR, ain’t all that. It’s way too oily, the crust is overly-charred, and even the goddamn fresh basil (fresh=grown in the window of a decrepit Brooklyn pizzeria), which Domenico meticulously (and slowly ... SO FUCKING SLOWLY) cuts over each pie with a pair of scissors, is really nothing more than the equivalent of an erratic BeDazzling.
I mean, look at this pie that I had to shoulder-out a sneering Russian day laborer to get for nearly a half hour (after already waiting twenty minutes at our dirty table) AND I ORDERED THE DAMN THING:
Inappropriately burnt crust, enough olive oil on it so that I could slip ‘n’ slide my way home instead of taking the bus, expensive as shit (before this latest price increase), an ordering process that’s just plain fucking cruel (TAKE YOUR NAME WITH YOUR ORDER? WHY WOULD THE DI FARA ZOMBIE STAFF WANT TO DO THAT?!?), and, on top of it all, look at the crap basil job I got from Dom, the only person allowed to touch the pies at Di Fara’s BECAUSE HE IS JESUS H. CRUST. If I’m going to wait even longer for basil to be slowly scissored over my pie a) I want it all cut and b) I want it somewhat evenly distributed.
So thanks to the vastly (and, obviously, maddeningly) overrated Di Fara’s, plain slices in NYC will probably be $3 by the end of the summer. And I can’t even enjoy a $2.25 slice now, while it still exists, because I’m on a goddamn diet. SO I WANT TO KILL EVERYONE NOW.
The Giglio [weight: 3+ tons—KK] is a statue on top of about a 65- or 70-foot tower decorated to look like a lily, and the statue on top is St. Paulinus. The Giglio is made up of a steel and aluminum frame, and it’s in three or four sections that are hoisted into place with a crane. The face of the Giglio, which is the lily, is made out of papier- maché and wood and cardboard tied to the frame ... and the face of the statue is painted. So the statue of Paulinus sits at the very top of the lily tower, and on the base is a 10-piece band that plays music (and the guys in the band like to eat - they’re pretty heavy!) and the Giglio “dances” to that music when lifted.
So why do neighborhood men risk throwing out their backs to hoist it?
Well, it’s a reenactment of the ritual that took place. Roughly about 100-130 guys pick up the statue, and the statue is lifted several times through the afternoon, and we dance through the streets to the music. And then, of course, the boat [another 3 tons, requiring another 100 men] is lifted at the same time, which signifies St. Paulinus coming back to Nola, and the Giglio is the lily meeting him. And the boat and the Giglio are lifted together a few times during the festival and come together. The dancing of the Giglio happens three different times during the 11-day festival, beginning today.
Not only is this a bad idea because it’s impossible to scrape together ten Oscar-worthy films in any given year, but why would you do this when you’ve got an awards show that’s renowned for running painfully long? I’m with the wingnuts now. Fuck Hollywood!
p.s. If you’re a NYer (or maybe even if you’re not), you should definitely bookmark and/or blogroll The Village Voice‘s Runnin’ Scared. Roy Edroso of alicublog is doing a bang up job running it and it’s become a daily read for me.
Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:44 am EST
I heard that there was a fire at the dry cleaners on 9th st and 8th ave this morning. Lots of fire trucks and ambulances. I know this is where they’re also setting up to film the Nicholas Cage movie tonight and tomorrow. I wonder if they film equipment or cables started the fire? Or how this will affect their filming. Anyone have more info on this?
Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:45 am EST
if it keeps nick cage from making another movie it could be seen as a blessing.
SIDE NOTE: Is my lovely wife Chris the only person who’s driven crazy by Cage’s lack of sideburns over the past several years? I may have to go track down his trailer and plead with him to grow them back.